Skip to main content

In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians


Published May 2, 2012


LibriVox recording of In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, by Ambrose Bierce. Read by David Wales.

These stories detail the lives of soldiers and civilians during the American Civil War. This is the 1909 edition. The 1909 edition omits six stories from the original 1891 edition; these six stories are added to this LibriVox recording (from an undated English edition). The 1891 edition is entitled In The Midst Of Life; Tales Of Soldiers And Civilians. The Wikipedia entry for the book uses the title Tales of Soldiers and Civilians.

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – after December 26, 1913) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Today, he is best known for his short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" and his satirical lexicon, The Devil's Dictionary. The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto "nothing matters" – earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce." Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events. In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain a first-hand perspective on that country's ongoing revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, the elderly writer disappeared without a trace.

Since the book is a compilation of short stories, there is not an overarching plot. However, there are literary elements, or plot devices, that are shared throughout. Bierce's stories often begin mid-plot, with relevant details withheld until the end, where the dramatic resolution unfolds differently than expected, to a degree where most are considered twist endings. His characters were described by George Sterling as: "His heroes, or rather victims, are lonely men, passing to unpredictable dooms, and hearing, from inaccessible crypts of space, the voices of unseen malevolencies."... Bierce served as a union soldier during the Civil War and his experiences as a soldier served as an inspiration for his writing, particularly for the Soldiers section. In this way, Bierce's war treatments anticipate and parallel Ernest Hemingway's later arrival, whereas the civilian tales later influence horror writers. (Summary by Wikipedia and David Wales)

For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording.

For more free audio books or to become a volunteer reader, visit LibriVox.org.

Download M4B Part 1 (76MB)
Download M4B Part 1 (80MB)


Source Librivox recording of a public-domain text

Reviews

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write a review.
DOWNLOAD OPTIONS
Uploaded by
librivoxbooks
on 5/2/2012
Views
5,706
Favorites
2
PEOPLE ALSO FOUND
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by E. Phillips Oppenheim
3,540
0
1
( 1 reviews )
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by Thomas Nelson Page
1,039
0
1
( 1 reviews )
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by Lev Shestov
2,485
0
0
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by F. Anstey
2,204
0
0
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by Anton Chekhov
1,426
0
0
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by José de Alencar
1,049
0
0
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by Anne Brontë
10,780
0
1
( 1 reviews )
Source: Librivox recording of a public-domain text
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
5,454
0
0
The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
by Lucy Fitch Perkins
7,572
0
0
Source: Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Source: Librivox recording of a public-domain text